Lionel Messi and Marc Andre Ter Stegen, nothing else needs to be said. The duo that has saved Barcelona so much in the past has done so once again. In a match that could have gone either way, two players rose above all to seal a critical win in the Wanda Metropolitano. The three points against Atletico keeps Barcelona on top of the league table, heading into a tough stretch of games in December.
It was not a pretty match early on as rain showers in Madrid resulted in a slippery pitch. Ateltico created a few dangerous chances in the first half including a deflected shot that hit the post, but the heroic efforts of Ter Stegen kept the game level. Ter Stegen and company took the game into their own hands after the 30th minute. Barcelona began dominating possession and came close to scoring as Pique’s header struck the crossbar but the game continued level at 0-0.
Improvement in the second half
Griezmann began the second half with his first shot against his former club being stopped as whistles poured in evertime he touched the ball. The match grew intense as both sides pushed for the lead, but neither side was able to make the difference. Both teams were lucky to end the game with eleven players, as Pique and Vitolo could have been shown second yellows for late challenges. The match was filled with yellow cards, as both teams combined for eight total warnings. A few late changes were made, Vidal coming in for Arthur in the 73rd minute. Moreover, Umtiti replacing an injured Pique in the 83rd minute. The match certainly looked as though it would end in a scoreless draw.
Queue Messi. As time began to run down, the Argentine receives the ball near the half. He began his sprint in the open space in front of him. After cutting inside, he finds Suarez at the edge of the box. Afterwards, he simply lays it off for the charging Messi to slot the ball inside Oblak’s near post. It was Messi’s 30th goal against Atletico Madrid in his career and his first goal in the Wanda Metropolitano. When the match needed a big play, a big player stepped up and delivered yet again.
This was a huge result for a Barcelona side that has been lacking identity in recent matches. With poor away form all season long, Barcelona fought and earned three crucial points away from home. Today’s performance was not a disaster, but Barcelona still did not seem to perform their best. Considering the injuries they have sustained and Busquets being suspended for the match, this was one of if not the biggest result of the season. FC Barcelona will now head home to face a Mallorca side that sits one point above the relegation zone.
This is a postmatch analysis by Adrian Navarro. What did you think about the Atletico vs Barcelona match yesterday? Write your opinion in the comment section below.